I hate bureaucrats. I absolutely can not stand them.
Every year, Octoberish, I go to register to vote weather I need to or not. Usually I would get this done at the post office or through work. There is no central human resources office for substitutes–well one that can do stuff like this–and I did not want to go to the post office because the guy who serves my neighborhood is a complete tool, so I went looking for another location. Like an idiot, I didn’t use Google, I did a physical walk-around search. After three stops, I ended up at the county election office. In the past, the courthouses and federal buildings had spots to pick-up and drop-off registration forms, but no longer.
Cliched-Awful. The county office is on the third floor and looks like every Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare I’ve ever seen on TV or in movies. Small office with many employees all with desks piled high with papers and files. The floor was cluttered and piled high, too. The guy at the counter was helping five other people with a nosy, overbearing supervisor barking instructions and overriding the guy. Her desk was covered in files and the shelves behind her were filled with files and file boxes. There were other people walking around not doing anything, but looking busy with open files in their hands and one person who seemed to be having a psychotic episode in a back office.
Forms. The forms were grainy photo-copies. There was no place to fill the forms out except for a tiny table where a couple were filling out forms and the counter everyone else was crowded around. I filled out my form and my son Rob, who will be voting for the first time, filled out his. Rob had some questions, but the counter-dude was busy data-entrying other registration forms, so I answered them with the bossy supervisor repeating exactly what I said from her desk fifteen feet away. Oooo, she had one of those huge, fake, evil-passive-aggressive smiles that always scares the crap out of me. My anxiety drive was starting to overheat and I wanted to escape. Finally Rob got it done and we handed it over.
Precinct Polling Places. Last time I voted, the polling station was moved at the last minute. Counter-guy told me the station was going to be at Independence High. I know of four traditional polling stations that are closer. Independence High is two miles away. I asked why and the supervisor lady automatically starts spouting that the location was not picked to discriminate against minorities.
What? Where did that come from?
I affirm many of my neighbors are Hispanic and the polling location will be an inconvenience to get to. I grew up right across the Provo River from Independence High, so I know the short-cut up frontage road behind the trailer park crossing the brand new bridge connecting to Independence Avenue and the school for criminal and delinquent youth. The regular route is more than five miles long and even then, Independence High is hard to find. I mention this and the supervisor reaffirms the choice was not meant to discriminate.
Google. Getting home, I finally Google to see if the internet agrees with plastic-smile lady. It doesn’t. Google reports the correct polling place is even further away at Provost School, two and a half miles in the opposite direction and equally hard to find.
I’m emailing the County Election Commissioner tomorrow. There has to be a closer location to vote, like Franklin Elementary half a mile away where several precincts and the local Republican Caucuses vote.